The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), one of the state’s largest taxpayer-funded lobbying groups, is coming under fire for its refusal to sever ties with the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The NSBA is the same group that, in September, ignited a firestorm when it sent the Biden administration a letter comparing parent protests to “domestic terrorism.”
While TASB tried to quell concerns by claiming that it “was not consulted nor involved in the development of the NSBA letter,” the controversy has not abated. In fact, alarm has only grown in light of new documents showing “that NSBA notified its state affiliates of the letter before sending it.”
Following this revelation, a group of 10 Texas lawmakers urged TASB in October to formally terminate its relationship with the NSBA. The lawmakers correctly pointed out that: “Such association with an organization that views concerned parents as domestic terrorists is abhorrent to the laws of Texas and to the Constitution of the United States.”
Despite this prompting however, TASB rebuffed calls to cut ties with its anti-parent umbrella group and even appears to have since doubled down by “offering financial incentives for [its] members to attend the NSBA conference in January.” In response, state elected officials are now calling on “parents to go to their local school board meetings, make their voice heard, and demand their local ISDs leave the Texas Association of School Boards.” (As a side note, TASB counts “all 1,024 Texas school boards as Active Members of the Association.”)
The growing discord between policymakers and TASB has even caught the attention of federal lawmakers, with U.S. Congressman Chip Roy now exhorting it to “immediately separate from the NSBA over parent targeting revelations.” The congressman notes that: “17 states have separated from the NSBA to demonstrate affirmatively that they will not support any organization that so vehemently demonizes parents who wish to speak on behalf of their children’s education.”
Given all the attention, it’s clear that the controversy isn’t going away—nor should it. The NSBA’s view of parental participation in school board meetings is repugnant and has no place here. That a Texas-based institution—funded with our tax dollars—continues to closely align itself with such a radical organization raises some serious questions.
Hopefully, public pressure will grow to the point that TASB corrects its error. However, in the event that it doesn’t make the right decision, then expect the argument to play a prominent role in 2023’s looming fight over taxpayer-funded lobbying.